UPDATED JULY 2016: If you typically order children’s books online (or scoop up hand-me-downs from friends and relatives), you’re missing out! Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Connecticut all have something unique to offer, whether your little one is just learning to read or pursuing a new favorite. (Bonus: These options are fun for Mom and Dad, too!)
Little Joe’s Coffee and Books
25 Katonah Ave., Katonah
No matter what stage your reader is at, the helpful staff at Little Joe’s can recommend the perfect book—from board and bedtime books to young adult fiction. Currently owned by Pete and Gretchen Menzies—who count children’s books, gourmet food, and local produce among their obsessions—every book, beverage, and food item in the store is hand-selected. Visit on Thursdays at 4:30pm or on Sunday at 11am this summer for an all-ages story time.
The Voracious Reader
1997 Palmer Ave., Larchmont
The perfect destination for the truly book-obsessed (author Neil Gaiman is a fan!), the Voracious Reader wants to nurture the next generation of readers by being more than your average shop. On Thursday evenings this summer, take advantage of pajama story time with coloring and snacks; the $5 admission fee can be put towards any item in the shop.
Womrath Book Shop
76 Pondfield Road, Bronxville
This family-owned shop has all the toys and activities needed to keep your little munchkins entertained, along with knowledgeable owners who will suggest or order new favorites. Great for shoppers who have “heard” of a book but don’t remember what it’s called—the owners are happy to look it up.
22A Main St., Hastings on Hudson
A Hudson Valley favorite since 1987, Galapagos Books is independently owned and carries more than 10,000 titles geared towards all ages and cultures. Great for those who are searching for author-signed books from local authors or illustrators. The store also collaborates with local authors to host signings and meet-and-greets.
15 Purchase St., Rye
This independent bookstore carries fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults, and hosts events that celebrate reading and history for the child (or grandchild) in your life. Teachers can fill out the online course requirement form to ensure their books are in stock at back-to-school time.
822 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck
Young fans of comics and graphic novels will geek out in the best way over the offerings at this shop, from the officially-sponsored Dungeons & Dragons nights, to Friday Night Magic tournaments and Board Game Night. New comics arrive each Wednesday.
Meadowlark Toys and Sunbridge Books
817 Chestnut Ridge Road, Chestnut Ridge
Founded in 2005 by families at Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, Meadowlark stocks children and teen fiction that encourages emotional growth and inspires a sense of wonder. Browse their natural toys and craft supplies for a unique and memorable gift.
NEW YORK CITY
686 Fulton St., Fort Greene
As Fort Greene’s first independent bookstore, Greenlight was built by two women determined to make a career out of books, along with the help of artisans, contractors, and friends who shared their enthusiasm. The shop hosts Saturday story times hosted by authors at 11am, and young reader book groups for ages 8-14.
163 Court St., Cobble Hill
This independent shop has been family-run for more than 30 years, and has an impressive inventory of books for all ages. Since children’s bestsellers are always 30 percent off, feel free to pick up a few, such as The Book With No Pictures (great to read aloud), or The Odyssey, a beautiful graphic re-interpretation of the 2,500 year-old tale.
The Community Bookstore
143 7th Ave., Park Slope
The staff at The Community Bookstore has a philosophy of giving back to the community whenever possible on a local and global level, and the shop has a diverse selection of children’s books that speak to sensitive (and often difficult) topics, such as making friends, divorce, and foster care. They’re also happy to order books for schools and non-profits at a discounted rate.
249 Warren St., Boerum Hill
Even though the Brooklyn branch of this Manhattan store is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, it’s worth a trip: It’s one of the last travel bookstores in the country and has a great selection of children’s books in French and Spanish. Those eager to raise a bilingual kid will want to visit the shop next door, which offers a 10-week beginners’ language class for kids.
126 Franklin St., Greenpoint
With two locations (in Brooklyn and Jersey City, NJ), Word prides itself on throwing good events, hosting themed birthday parties based on the best children’s books of all time; parties include wrapped book favors and story time. For an extra treat, sign up for the birthday club, which features a coupon good towards 25 percent off books and toys during your child’s birthday month.
31-29 31st St., Astoria
As Queens’ first independent bookstore, Astoria Bookshop offers a wide selection of books in-store (as well as e-books online), including a section by local authors. Eager young readers can take advantage of story time and writer workshops.
70-17 Austin St., 2nd Floor, Forest Hills
This shop—which also has a Midtown Manhattan location—gets its name by replacing the “fan” in fantasy with the Chinese/Japanese character dream (pronounced “Mon”). The perfect place to introduce your child to comics and collecting, the store welcomes those who want to indulge their passion for comics and gaming in a relaxed environment.
96-01 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills
As one of the only stores in Queens to carry comic books and sports collectibles, this shop has been family-owned and -operated since 1992. Among other titles, their children’s comic book section features My Little Pony, Avengers, and Wolverine. Be sure to visit the back room for an impressive selection of statues and other memorabilia.
Topos Bookstore Café
788 Woodward Ave., Ridgewood
Part bookstore, part café, this shop caters to Queens residents who want to enjoy a cup of coffee along with their book browsing. While they only sell used books, there’s a good children’s selection, and you can bring in your old books in exchange for cash or store credit.
Books of Wonder
18 W. 18th St.
Best known for reissuing L. Frank Baum’s classic Oz books with color illustrations—and for appearing in the movie You’ve Got Mail—Books of Wonder has earned its place as the largest and oldest children’s bookstore in NYC. Visit if you’re looking for an unrivaled selection of children’s literature, or a chance to hear an award-winning author speak.
Bank Street Book Store
2780 Broadway, Upper West Side
Once a college bookstore, Bank Street has grown over the years to serve parents, children, and teachers who want more than your average bookseller. Frequent visitors can join Friends of Bank Street, a tiered membership service that includes in-store discounts, story and puppet show sponsorships, and a free gift bag for new members.
The Book Cellar at Webster Library
1465 York Ave., Upper East Side
The Webster branch of The New York Public Library is the oldest in the system, built with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie. Head down to the basement to visit the Book Cellar, a used bookstore run entirely by volunteers that sells children’s books at discount prices. All net proceeds are donated back to NYPL branches.
Museum of Modern Art Design Store
44 W. 53rd St., Midtown
The books at the MoMA Store will feed your child’s creative side: All are colorful, fun to look at, and encourage self-expression. After picking up a board, plush, or pop-up book, check out their selection of toys and accessories for one-of-a-kind gift ideas.
8 Grigg St., Greenwich
With the largest selection of family books in the country, Diane’s has thrived for more than 20 years thanks to personalized service. For a unique gift, visit the website: It offers personalized gift wagons or beach bags for baby showers, birthdays, and bar/bat mitzvahs.
314 Heights Road, Darien
First opened in 1939 in downtown Stamford, Barrett Bookstore has expanded over the years on the strength of its loyal customer support and the dedication of its knowledgeable staff.
Linda’s Story Time
447 Monroe Turnpike (Route 111), Monroe
While this store offers books for all ages, it specializes in children’s books, stocking reads for babies through age 18. Those looking to build baby’s first library can find a list of must-haves online, then order the item for in-store pickup.
Books on the Common
404 Main St. Ridgefield
This independent shop has survived and thrived throughout the age of big-name booksellers and online shopping, thanks to local residents who prefer to get their recommendations from humans instead of computers. With thousands of children’s books to choose from, regulars can take advantage of the frequent buyers’ club, which gives a store credit for every 10 books purchased.
126 Greenwood Ave., Bethel
Searching for a new release? Look no further than this shop, which carries only new titles. While books can be ordered online at a 20 percent discount, you’ll want to visit the store for the best selection—25 percent of its inventory is dedicated to children’s books for all ages and genres.
The Dolphin Bookshop
299 Main St., Port Washington
This spacious, independent shop attracts local and new visitors through the strength of its author and celebrity book signings (it has hosted JK Rowling and Eric Carle at past events!). It also helps foster a love of reading through the School Author Program, which arranges author visits to local schools.
76 Hillside Ave., Williston Park
This organized shop is famous for its great customer service and an ever-changing selection of comics and games. The family-friendly store was once featured in WizKids’ Top 50 Venues for HeroClix (a collectible miniatures game), and has one of the best gaming environments on Long Island. It’s popular in the community, too: The store’s annual holiday fundraising raffle raises thousands of dollars to help sick and terminally ill children.
Blue Door Books
501A Central Ave., Cedarhurst
This independent shop offers an array of children’s books, as well as kid-specific services such as story-themed parties (think pirates and dress-up!). For a fun summer surprise, order one of the Camp Packages—a collection of Mad Libs, fact/puzzle books, and travel card games that can be tailored to suit any age.
313 New York Ave., Huntington
Founded in 1977 and voted best bookstore of 2015, Book Revue is Long Island’s largest independent bookstore, with a large selection of children’s books at up to 50 percent off. Stop by on Tuesdays for Toddler Time, which features crafts, sculptures, singing, and dancing, as well as live guitar once a month.
41 Main St., East Hampton
This well-curated shop has a wide selection of books to keep eager readers entertained, and can order any book you don’t find at the store.
Long Island Comics
276 Little East Neck Road (Route 109), West Babylon
Once called “The Batcave,” Long Island’s oldest continually operated store carries new and vintage comic books, and has a library of more than 150,000 hard-to-find/back issues in stock. Eager readers can reserve new releases one week prior to release with the New Comics Reserve system; collectors can browse rare Gold and Silver Age comics in the shop’s eBay store.
Black Cat Books
54 N. Ferry Road, Shelter Island
Book collectors will love this shop, which was named in honor of the owner’s cat and specializes in secondhand and rare books, vintage collectibles, and signed first editions. Pick up a Golden Book or Dr. Seuss classic while you’re there, and then browse the selection of collectible children’s books online.
4th World Comics and Toys
33 Route 111, Smithtown
Home to the largest selection of independent comics on Long Island, 4th World has a dedicated and knowledgeable staff, and offers a yearly comic book club membership for only $10. Young comic fans will love the selection of new releases, action figures, and prints.